R&D summer placement student at Unilever

Top Employer
Duration
Internship (1-4 Months)
Region
Bedford East of England
Review Date
Salary
£20,000 - £21,999
Roles
Engineering Science/Research

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Unilever is a Top Employer

7.4/10

The Role
7.7
Organisation
6.4

Socialising

8.2

The Role

1. To what extent did you enjoy your work placement or internship?

The placement gave a real sense of what to expect from a full time job, and was very varied, allowing me to try many different areas of work. I learnt many things outside of my degree which contributed to my decision that I would like to work at Unilever in future.

9/10

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2. To what extent did you feel valued by your colleagues?

Everyone at Unilever was extremely friendly and always willing to offer help or time to discuss unfamiliar ideas. Every person I had contact with took the time to share knowledge or just sit with a cup of tea and discuss my placement and anything I wanted to get out of it, and work out how they could help with that.

10/10

3. To what extent were you given support and guidance by management/your supervisor(s)?

Overall, support was great and there was always someone around to provide supervision or advice where needed. As this was a summer placement, there were times where my direct manager was on holiday, and this required a little more self-driven time to find solutions to tasks or discussions with others working on the project.

7/10

4. How busy were you on a daily basis?

On the whole, there was generally lots of work for me to do and this was well planned and thought out. On occasion, there were periods of low work, for example when my manager was on holiday or when I was waiting for overseas colleagues to get back to me with the necessary information to complete a task. There were always other projects going on, especially in the Pilot Plant and people working there were more than happy to show me what they were doing or get me involved if they needed an extra pair of hands.

7/10

5. How much responsibility were you given during your placement?

I had a good balance of responsibility and someone to ask questions to or ask direction from as required. There were periods where I was trusted to complete work without constant supervision, and then I would present this to my manager or the rest of my team. There was also the right level of support so I didn't feel alone in doing this.

7/10

6. To what extent did/will the skills you developed, and training you received, assist you in your degree studies and beyond?

The soft skills developed (such as working in a team and communicating with people in different roles from me) will be of great help throughout the rest of my studies. The more technical skills (such as operating plant machinery and obtaining a food hygiene qualification) will be less relevant to my degree but will be helpful for future jobs.

6/10

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The Organisation

7. What was the general atmosphere in your office?

The office is extremely friendly and there is always someone who is happy to have a chat, whether work related or not. There is regularly cakes to celebrate someone's birthday or a person retiring, joining or having a baby! In the labs, there was always music or the radio playing.

9/10

8. How well organised was the overall work placement or internship set up?

The overall organisation level was average. The communication between HR and R&D was not seamless and training was sparse at first, with lots of training taking place in the second half of the placement, which was in some cases too late to action. Large amounts of my training was self organised.

5/10

9. In terms of personal training and development, to what extent did the company or firm invest in you?

5/10

10. What were the perks on your work placement?

  • Flexi Time
  • Sports and Social Club
  • Subsidised/Company Gym
  • Staff Sales/Staff Shop
  • Above 25 days holiday
  • Working from home
5/10

11. How appealing are future employment prospects within the organisation?

Future job prospects are very appealing as the graduate scheme is highly esteemed and recognised by all as a fast track to management positions. This does also require hard work, which was evident when speaking to people who have completed the graduate scheme. Working hard in the placement can lead to a fast track to the assessment centre for the graduate scheme.

8/10

Social

12. Was there a good social scene amongst any fellow placement students/colleagues?

There was a very big social scene, with people always willing to go out in evenings or weekends, even just for a pub quiz or brunch at the weekend. There are a large group of apprentices, who are university aged and are sociable and very inclusive. If you want to organise anything, there will always be people who are keen to go!

8/10

13. What was the cost of living and socialising in the area you worked in?

Coming from living in London for university, moving to Bedford was extremely cheap for both rent and going out. There are also plenty of supermarkets around, including the budget ones (such as Lidl and Aldi) which makes the cost of living very affordable, especially compared to the salary. There are also a few nicer pubs/bars to go for a nicer drink!

9/10

14. What was the Nightlife like in the area you worked?

6/10

15. Were there many opportunities to get involved in activities outside of work?

There were loads of things to get involved with outside of work. These ranged from netball, rugby and football to the fishing and golf clubs. There is also a gym onsite and a choir which gets together weekly. There is also a circuit session run at lunch times, which sometimes features a swim in the river, and there's always a group up for playing tennis or going for a run!

10/10

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